Blood bank offers immersive digital experience for donors

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 9:18 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Beginning Sunday, CSRA residents will have the choice of experiencing a blood donation like never before.

Shepeard Community Blood Center is introducing new technology through the Microsoft HoloLens.

The immersive digital experience is known as “mixed reality.”

Donors take a journey through the virtual adventure while they give blood.


Because donors can’t move their arm while giving blood, there are no controllers or buttons for the donor to press. Instead, the devices are controlled by the movement of the user’s eyes.

The Abbott software is the first-ever, consumer-focused mixed reality application completely controlled by eye tracking.

Shepeard hopes the innovative technology will help attract younger donors. In the past decade, the number of blood donors under 30 has decreased by 30%. Even though Shepeard hopes to increase participation among young donors, the real game-changer could be improved donor safety.

“We’re really focused on cultivating the next generation of blood donors,” said Shepeard CEO Benjamin Prijatel. “So that starts with people in high school and college. They’re very connected to devices and electronics, so we hope this is a way to king of make that connection.”

He says it’s also the perfect distraction for nervous donors – many of whom don’t even realize there is a needle in their arm until after a staff member tells them.

Shepeard is deploying the HoloLens devices to select blood drives in October. Donors can see the schedule and book an appointment to donate at